WSAZ - Blogs - At the Capitol

Feb 8, 2012- W.Va. Senate Passes Domestic Violence, Stalking Bills

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

Also, Politico has an interesting look at the souring relationship between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate has unanimously passed two bills that would offer increased protections for children and adult victims of domestic or sexual abuse plus victims of stalking and harassment.

Wednesday's vote sends the bills to the House of Delegates for consideration.

One of the measures would expand the availability of protective orders to any victim of sexual violence, stalking or harassment. State law provides such protection only to victims who live with their abuser or who are related to their abuser.

The second measure would make it a crime to prevent anyone from calling 911. Police believe such a law would give them another tool to combat domestic violence as abusers often cut phone lines or destroy phones to prevent their victims from calling police.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - House Republicans disagree with parts of pending legislation that targets West Virginia's public retiree health care costs.

Under the bill, West Virginia would gradually pay off a $5 billion funding shortfall from other post-employment benefits, or OPEB. These non-pension benefits are mostly health care.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed the measure, which is up for a Thursday House vote. It unanimously passed the Senate last week.

Tomblin also included a dozen cost-cutting steps proposed by the Public Employees Insurance Agency. A bipartisan amendment tweaked two hospital-related steps Wednesday.

A Republican bid to remove all of the steps fell short. So did a GOP amendment to declare most county school teachers and personnel to be state employees. Among other effects, that change would forbid those employees from running for the Legislature.

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Also, check out this article on the increasingly frosty relationship between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

It goes into the fallout from the battle over WVU and the University of Louisville trying to get a spot in the Big 12.

It also details some testy exchanges between Manchin and McConnell on the Senate floor and McConnell's effort to get John Raese to take on Manchin again this year.

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